What if a union rep feels they cannot help? In the workplace a trade union representative is an employee who will represent and defend the rights of workers. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. A trade union is a group of employees who join together to maintain and improve their conditions of employment. If management tells you the union representative is unavailable, ask them to reschedule the meeting until you’ve had a chance to meet with your representative. It can be useful to approach management to seek an informal solution to problems. However they're also obligated to promote the union and build membership. Union reps should take advice on this. A Steward helps bring your collective agreement to life and give it meaning by making sure your boss holds up their end of the deal. Either way, the union organizer schedules meetings to discuss the benefits of union membership, what the union can and cannot promise as a result of joining the organization, and opportunities for employees to be active union leaders themselves, such as shop stewards. If the employee brings a union official to the meeting, it’s important to establish whether their intended role is as a support person or as the employee’s union representative. Read more. What about non-members? However, it must be noted that most people do come to the union in times of trouble or if they have a grievance. In most unions the union representative and the health and safety repr… Reps. Our reps are the heart of the NEU – the largest education union in Europe. Keeping a diary is a useful method as you can always look back on it at a later date. Even if you are in a union, you can be fired without cause unless your contract stipulates that your employer cannot fire you without just cause. The employees they recruit don't receive any extra compensation for their work, but they might be in a position to accept a union leadership role if the union's organizing campaign is successful. Publicise your successes, which reminds employers of their responsibilities and encourages more people to join the union. Always have a fall-back position – you won’t win every time! We need to transform ourselves to meet the challenges facing a new generation of workers. A union representative has responsibilities to both the workers in their department and to the union. This is useful when planning how to take up an issue or in planning improvements in pay, terms and conditions. 1 in Quincy, Massachusetts, are responsible for organizing activities, according to their LM-2 financial reports filed with the Office of Labor Management Standards for 2011. This doesn’t necessarily involve speeches at big meetings. Rank-and-file members of the union hold this position voluntarily (through democratic election by fellow workers or sometimes by appointment of a higher union body) while maintaining their role as an employeeof the firm. Representatives are entitled to raise any concerns with management on behalf of union members. Reps should avoid giving interpretations of the law or promising success in a case. This is a chapter from the TUC Workplace Manual. For example, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has union representative positions such as international vice presidents, field representatives, directors and election project coordinators. There is a vast resource of experience and expertise within the union that a representative can access. Do not speak or write to management or anyone else until you have planned your intervention and are sure what you want to happen. Legal advice or legal representation is not generally appropriate or necessary. (There’s more information on this in Section 2 of this manual). They engage in collective bargaining on behalf of union members, working to achieve good wages and benefits that the entire employee base can live with. A union organizer might initiate contact with workers, or employees who are dissatisfied with their working conditions might initiate contact with a union rep or organizer. Workplace reps are the backbone of Unite. Formalise things only when you have exhausted all procedures. Be clear about your objectives. Take small steps but be well organised. Union reps need to be communicators, letting their members know what they are doing and why. With over 20,000 members, join the UNIONREPS community and help support each other through COVID-19, strengthening your role in the workplace. A strong union relies on reps to attract new members and get them involved. Shop stewards also help new employees learn about their benefits as a union member, and they attend disciplinary meetings upon a request of the employee. Their role is not to speak on behalf of, or advocate for the employee. the case is too complex, fear that winning a case could adversely affect others’ terms and conditions, have been advised by the union that the case is not likely to succeed. be the only one to do the job because nobody else will try. Know your limitations and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some issues arising from an individual case often turn out to be ‘collective’ in the sense that they affect a number of other people, not just the person who brought the problem forward in the first place. Nothing beats being a union member, but if you are looking for particular guidance on a workplace issue have a look at our workplace guidance. Every rep will find The TUC Workplace Manual invaluable, and every rep will appreciate the wealth of practical advice and knowledge in this book. Negotiating and bargaining. Remember – failing to prepare is preparing to fail! The Structure of Labor Unions For the most part, labor unions belong underneath either the AFL-CIO, established in 1955, or the Change to Win Federation, which split from AFL-CIO in 2005. If management work with a representative in a constructive manner it can help to address and resolve problems before they escalate. It may well happen that a rep takes up an issue for a union member against another person who is also a member of the same union. Student reps make student opinion heard within their department and relay information from lecturers and meetings back to the student body. The primary role of a Student Rep is to effectively listen, collate and communicate the views of all the students they represent, taking these views to meetings and to staff to bring about positive changes for you! Not every rep gets involved in workplace disciplinary problems, although all would be interested in the outcome of individual representation cases. Do not lose your temper or refuse to answer any of management’s questions. That member is entitled to representation too although not through the same union rep. The union representative accepts what the employer says without giving you a chance to say why you disagree. The union acts in a "discriminatory" way if they treat you differently than other workers. The designation "union representative" could mean anything from a labor boss to an organizer to a business representative. Sometimes claims are only rumours or members just want to let off steam at someone. To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA). As a Course Rep, you will get: Induction training to provide you with the essential knowledge and confidence to carry out the role effectively and efficiently. If they are away from the workplace they should let their work colleagues know where they are. A union can collect enough authorization cards from you and your coworkers. Union reps need to work together as a team, supporting each other, even if there are only two in the workplace! It also means that the union can work towards resolving the underlying causes of discipline or grievance cases that come up again and again. If that doesn’t work speak to senior workplace reps about using formal procedures. Reps ensure that when they raise an issue that … In a unionized setting, an employee has the right to request the presence of a union representative whenever the employee is subject to an investigatory interview, which might lead to discipline. Union representatives could be employees of the local union, the district council or the international office of the union. Don’t delay in speaking to members. The figure is currently 28,000 and growing all the time. Shop stewards listen to employee complaints and present employee grievances to the management team or the designated labor relations staff member. Be careful though, sometimes an issue can be the result of a misunderstanding and not the sort of thing that needs to be raised with managers. Or for bulk orders please download the this form (PDF). Health and safety representative– has statutory rights to cover many aspects of health, safety and welfare in the workplace and attends health and safety committee meetings. The role of a workplace rep is really rewarding and many of the skills you will develop are transferable to your professional life. Specifically, reps: 1. In addition, there are union reps who are actually employed by the company -- they are designated as shop stewards or union stewards, and their primary duties involve representing employees at the work site. Discriminatory. A union representative, union steward, or shop steward is an employee of an organization or company who represents and defends the interests of her/his fellow employees as a labor union member and official. Industrial hygienists, time-study engineers, lawyers, and education and social services professionals, for … Employment in the United States is employment at will, which means that there does not need to be cause for termination. As a result, the union steward becomes a significant link and conduit of informatio… And the role is flexible – you decide how much time you put in. Union members are entitled to unpaid time off to consult their learning representative, as long as they belong to a bargaining unit for which the union is recognised. 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